Amid a desire to enact restrictive voting laws across the state, the Republican-led Texas Senate passed a bill on Friday (July 16) to further drive Republicans’ fight against critical race theory. The bill eliminates the requirement for public schools to teach how the Ku Klux Klan and its terror campaign in the name of white supremacy were “morally wrong.”
It also eliminates study blocks aimed to educate students on the works of Martin Luther King Jr., United Farm Works leader Cesar Chaves and woman’s suffrage movement leader Susan B. Anthony.
The bill, known as Senate Bill 3 in the legislature, passed 18-4 and included the striking down of a requirement where students learn the “history of white supremacy, including but not limited to the institution of slavery, the eugenics movement, and the Ku Klux Klan, and the ways in which it is morally wrong.”
In June, Texas lawmakers signed into law a bill which blocked teachers from giving students a deeper understanding of how slavery has affected American history via The 1619 Project. Critical race theory is not explicitly mentioned in the bill. Still, lawmakers have continued to make strict edits to the curriculum not to allow students to understand certain items.
State leaders such as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick praised the bill and the legislature for “rejecting philosophies that espouse that one race or sex is better than another.”
“These abhorrent concepts have erupted in our culture in an effort to divide us,” Patrick wrote in a statement in May. “Unfortunately, they are cropping up in Texas classrooms, even in elementary schools. House Bill 3979 makes certain that critical race philosophies, including the 1619 founding myth, are removed from our school curriculums statewide. When parents send their children to school, they want their students to learn critical thinking without being indoctrinated with misinformation charging that America and our Constitution are rooted in racism.”
State Senator Judith Zaffirini disagreed with the notion, arguing recent events involving mass shootings in the state are critical teaching points regarding race and bigotry.
“How could a teacher possibly discuss slavery, the Holocaust, or the mass shootings at the Walmart in El Paso or at the Sutherland Springs church in my district without giving deference to any one perspective?” she said.
Although the Senate passed the bill on Friday, it is unlikely to be passed in the House. Texas Democrats left the state earlier this month to protest a restrictive voting rights bill, leaving Republicans in the House unable to hold the quorum required for a vote.